By Joe Chow, VP & GM, Connected Devices Business Unit, Cisco
Our home entertainment centers are rapidly changing. For decades, the television has been the center of American living room, but with the advent of cable, video games, streaming services and the cloud, our definitions of TV and set-top boxes have evolved. These days, a cellphone can be remote control and a remote control can be a security system. Consumers can watch movies on-demand or access second-screen content with their tablets or they can check their Facebook over their TV sets. Meanwhile society demands are expanding to include environmental concerns as well greater efficiencies.
To address many of the questions of the changing market, Cisco is launching a new video SPotlight series. Through the course of several videos, key Cisco executives will answer questions and provide commentary on many of the hottest topics in television and video.
For those that are not closely involved with IPv6, it may seem like the emphasis on migration to the new addressing scheme is waning. But while the hue and cry over IPv6 may appear to have quieted down to a background noise since 2010-2011; a closer inspection would prove that perception to be quite false.
What is IPv6 and why does it even matter? Simply put, when a device is on the Internet, it has its own specific address that it uses to communicate with other devices and the Internet and to define its location. With the non-stop growth of devices connecting to the Internet and the “Internet of Everything” (IoE) becoming a reality, the need for unique addresses for each personal device and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections has increased exponentially. To put this in perspective, the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) 2013-2018 forecast estimates that there will be about 4 billion Internet users by 2018, which is 52% of the world’s projected population (7.6 billion people). And for every person on the Earth in 2018, there will be about 3 global Internet connections — that’s more than 21 billion devices/connections by 2018.The current communication and address format IPv4 was just not equipped for this explosive growth of devices and connections and the need to define addresses for each device. Hence the need for a new communication protocol, IPv6.
As cities around the world grow in size, we are beginning to see that strained resources, infrastructure, and services are causing natural limits to urban growth, which in turn limits the economic growth opportunity. To combat this, cities as diverse as Barcelona, Nice, Kansas City and Songdo in South Korea, are starting to leverage advanced technologies and data analysis to create smart, connected cities. These cities, and others around the globe, are building out new digital services such as smart lighting, traffic, waste management and data analytics to reduce costs, tap new sources of revenue, create new innovation business districts and improve the overall quality of urban life.
Not only will the creation of smart cities generate huge value for the cities and their inhabitants, but great opportunities will also exist for the vendors and partners who help to create and operate these digitally smart cities of the future. However, the question is where and how can partners such as infrastructure providers, technology and services companies, and communication providers participate? And, what types of revenues can they generate from helping to create smart cities?
When was the last time you won the lottery? If you are like me, it’s a pretty rare occasion indeed. The same probability can be applied to increasing the budget allocation for any business and especially for service providers. What can service providers do to save money now, enabling them to invest in new services and boost revenues? Network functions virtualization (NFV) comes to the rescue, with help of course, from software defined networking (SDN), and open source innovations.
SDN and NFV represent a significant change in networking as we currently know it. Together and separately, both target cost savings, operational complexity, and network optimization – and both hold much promise for the operator. As with all things offering great potential rewards, one must balance these benefits and address the associated risks accordingly when deploying them.
For service providers, the data center is leading target for SDN and NFV deployments. Given all the activity focused on cloud computing, content delivery, and anything-as-a-service (XaaS) offerings, the service provider data centers must advance across many fronts (security, automation, mobility, reliability analytics, and provisioning) to be successful.
Service provider customers expect more. The pace of change around us is not just constant but continuing to accelerate. To stay competitive with the nimble new players in the market, service providers need to change how they engage all of their end customers. Not exactly an easy challenge to overcome, but rapid and successful business transformation will put operators right in the middle of a world of new opportunities to capture customer mindshare. Exciting times are ahead!
So, what will it take for service providers to save money on their current service offerings, enabling them to invest and expand their businesses? Positive outcomes are made possible by an open, agile, and application centric approach, combining emerging Software-Defined Network (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and Open API technologies … not just to the network… but to all of their business processes.